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Does Sound Travel Up Or Down In An Apartment| [FAQ]

apartment sound travel

How Does The Sound Travel In An Apartment?

Sound travels from a source to a destination using a medium such as water, air etc. If we talk in the context of soundproofing, the greatest threats to the soundproofing solution are the shared walls and the corners.

I have been into the soundproofing business from almost a decade and the most common questions asked by my clients or the prospects are regarding the "movement of the sound".

It is my assumption that many of my readers may be having the same query and I think a blog post is perhaps the best way to answer the query.

There is a very common misconception that sound travels in one direction. The truth is that sound travels in all the direction from source to the destination via a medium.

It is important to note here that sound doesn't travel in the vacuum.

Is it possible to make sound travel in one particular direction?

Any Guess?

Well, it is definitely possible and is easy as well. You will have to direct sound in a particular direction or area physically and the best way to do so is through a megaphone.

Have you ever thought about the direction of the sound that is produced due to playing music, watching movies, playing drums?

Again, have you ever thought where these sounds go?

The answer to these questions will seem very simple to you once you are thorough with the concept of the dispersal of the sound.

how sound travels


As already discussed, sound needs a medium to travel. The best part about the sound is that you can direct it to a particular area or direction as per your need but at the same time, if any hard surface comes in the way of the sound waves then, depending upon the thickness and opacity of the object, a portion of the sound wave will cross the object and a portion will bounce back. 

If large portions of sound waves are bouncing back from the thick surface such as room walls then, it will lead to the problem such as echoes.

It has been found that the large halls or spaces have higher chances of echoes, vibrations, and reverbs.

But it doesn't mean that a mid-size will not have such problems.

For example, you are dancing on the tune of a song played at high volume with the doors and windows of your room closed and still if it is reaching your neighbor house that means there is some hole or open space that is allowing the air to go out of the room and as we have discussed before also, along with air sound will also travel to the neighbors house.

So, what's the solution?

Well, there is a numerous number of ways to get rid of it. The easiest way is to soundproof an entire room and use it for recreational activities.

The other DIY way is to plug all the holes in the walls, ceiling, and floors.

Let's throw some light on the structure-borne-noise or impact noise.

Have you ever experienced the shaking of the floor after dialing the bass on your speaker?

It's an example of impact noise which can travel through the building structure as well.

It is the impact noise that makes you feel annoyed when your upstairs neighbor seems to tap dancing.

However, most of the airborne noise doesn't travel through the solid materials such as floor but the lower frequencies do.

Especially when it comes to the ceilings and floors, it is difficult for the higher frequencies to pass through it because the floors and ceilings are much thicker as compared to the walls of the room but at the same time, it's difficult for them to stop the lower frequencies.

The Positioning of the source of the sound

The positioning plays a crucial role when it comes to reducing the effect of noise from a source.

If you are looking to lower the impact of noise then, it's advisable to place the source away from the walls. ceiling, floor, and other vulnerable areas.

In most of the cases, you will find the sound traveling downward. Before we understand this with an example, allow me to ask you a question.

How many times have you felt that the noise is coming from the top floor and the down floor?

When you work on it for a while, you will find that most of the time, you will feel that the noise is coming from the floor above yours.

But...Why?

Assume you have a speaker sitting directly on a deck and when you will switch on your music system, the sound will travel from the speaker through the structure of the deck into the floor and to the neighbors below.

It doesn't mean it will not travel upward but at the same time, the impact will be very less for the top floor and there is a high probability that a lot of the sound waves will bounce back from the top floor.

The low-frequency sound wave travels through the solid object and thus, the impact of the sound wave will be much more for the down floor as compared to the upper one.

Wrapping UP: Does sound travel UP or DOWN in an apartment?

Technically speaking the answer is it DEPENDS. As discussed before in this article also, you have devices available in the market that can easily change the direction of the sound wave.

Scientifically, sound travels in all the direction. 

Even if you change the direction of the speaker still you will hear the sound. However, changing the position of the source may decrease or increase the intensity of the sound. 

Nowadays, there are loads and loads of soundproofing techniques available in the market that can help you to reduce the intensity of the noise.

You can also use soundproof curtains, soundproof blankets, and other cheap soundproofing materials to negate the impact of the outside as well as inside noises.


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